Doctor prescribed a low sodium diet… you readily but with a heavy heart cut down on salt in food, cut down on papads and also stopped eating your favorite Achar (😢)… But the BP doesn’t seem to come down what so ever! WHY??
Sodium is a mineral found naturally in foods. It is a one of the two components that makes the table salt. Table salt is ~40% pure Sodium!. It is needed by body for maintaining it’s fluid balance, acid-base balance, muscle functioning and also for proper functioning of vascular system. But too much sodium in the diet equates to elevated blood volume which increases BP and puts a lot of strain on the heart and kidneys! Which is why a low sodium/low salt diet is prescribed for heart and renal patients.
pizza, burger, chips, cheese, pickles, salted nuts…
It is easy to jot down foods that are salty or high in sodium since they literally… umm…”taste salty!”
But there are foods that are high in sodium! Salt that you can’t necessarily taste, but it is there…
Here is a list of Foods containing Hidden Sodium!
1. MSG– Monosodium Glutamate also commonly known as Ajinomoto. It is mainly found in Chinese foods, oriental sauces etc.
“It is what makes your favorite instant noodles so yummie and addictive!”
2. Baking powder/ Baking Soda/ Cooking Soda – Sodium Bicarbonate, or baking soda is used in making of baked items like cakes, pasteries, breads, khari, toast. But thats not it, even traditional indian snacks like dhokla, pakodas, vada pav can have hidden cooking soda in them!
3. Brine(salt water)– Found in canned beans, canned vegetables, canned olives, canned meats and canned sea foods.
4. Disodium phosphate – it is used as a preservative in quick cooking cereals, processed cheeses, pasta, gelatin etc.
5. Sodium alginate – used in many chocolate milks and ice creams for a smooth texture.
6. Sodium benzoate – used as preservatives in pickles, sauces, salad dressings, orange juice etc.
7. Sodium propionate– used in pasteurized cheeses and in some breads and cakes to inhibit mold growth.
8. Sodium sulphite – used to bleach certain fruits such as glazed or crystallized fruits; also used as a preservative in some dried fruits such as prunes, apricots, raisins etc.
9. Salt is also used to preserve certain food items like tamarind and raw mangoes.
10. Salt is used in many Indian farsans, chutneys, snacks, curry powders etc.
11. Sodium is also present in some medicines and toothpaste.
Therefore it becomes necessary for us to read food labels carefully. And even when choosing “Salt Free” options, carefully look at the labels and ingredients to make sure there is no hidden sodium in there!
Sometimes, these sodium food additives are listed in the form of a code instead of a name.
Here is a comprehensive list of commonly used sodium based food additives. This information might come in handy while next time shopping low-sodium!
For any patient that is put on low sodium diet, us clinical dietitians recommend consumption of no more than 2000 mg Sodium OR 5 gram salt (1 teaspoon) throughout the day.
Well… as you can imagine, 1 teaspoon of salt is not much salt at all. The patients ends up hating the bland food and they stop following the diet altogether!
Reducing salt doesn’t have to mean reducing flavor !! herbs , spices and certain foods make for great salt substitutes.
To enhance flavour of food with less or no salt, one can use :
1. Lemon Juice
3. Tamarind Pulp
5. Spring Onions
7. Green Chilies
Here is a no salt recipe for you to try
1. Sesame Seeds: 60 grams
2. Green Chillies: ½
3. Water: 85 ml
4. Chopped ginger: 1 inch piece
5. Chopped garlic: 3-4 cloves
6. Fresh coriander can also be used
Roast the sesame seeds and blended it to powder. Mix green chillies and lemon with sesame seeds powder. Now, grind it with water. Serve it fresh.
Hope you found this read helpful. To show your seal of approval, like, comment, share and stay tuned for more 🙂
Mubashira is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a Dietitian with specialization in Clinical and more specifically Renal Nutrition. She also has a certification in nutrition and exercise for fitness. Having addressed issues like weight management, diabetes management, and lifestyle disorders, her health mantra is “encourage healthy eating and conscious well being for better living!”